Tetris: The Games People Play

It’s astounding what fascinating graphic novels can be made from the most unexpected subjects! Box Brown (Andre The Giant: Life and Legend) demonstrates that with Tetris: The Games People Play, which starts out as a history of the immensely popular, deceptively simple video game. As it continues, though, we see ruminations on the nature and history of art and sport. Games develop analytical skills and pleasure people’s brains with fun. Tetris was created in 1984 by a Russian programmer with […]

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Berlin #20

I’m not going to review Berlin #20 here, because who starts a 22-part series at this point? I did want to take a moment, though, to say congratulations to Jason Lutes for sticking with the series. Berlin began in spring 1996 from Black Eye Books (another Canadian publisher who also put out work by Jay Stephens, Ed Brubaker, and Dylan Horrocks). The first third of the story was collected in 2000 as Berlin: City of Stones; the second part, Berlin: […]

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Mooncop

The simple premise of Tom Gauld’s Mooncop hides a subtle exploration of what it means to live an ordinary life, without judgment and with concern over what happens when technology overtakes it. The title character is a police officer on the moon, when everyone else is leaving. He files meaningless reports and interacts with the machines that have replaced people at the donut shop and the minimart. Everyone’s got bubble helmets, like the old visions of the future, even the […]

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Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #25

I really love this series. Writer Sholly Fisch does a terrific job telling stories that work as straightforward Scooby-Doo adventures — where the kids have to unmask fake ghosts, while Shaggy quakes and Scooby wisecracks — while tickling us older readers hip to the references. This issue title, “Ghosts Are Not Healthy for Dogs and Other Living Things”, may give you a hint of what’s being satirized this time around. The Scooby crew have come to Karma Corners, a town […]

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The New Ghost

The New Ghost by Robert Hunter is another in Nobrow’s line of single-issue author spotlights. It’s been out for more than five years, but I only found out about it recently through, of all things, a well-targeted Amazon recommendation. (Sometimes the computers get it right.) And since it’s a stand-alone, it doesn’t matter when you read it. Our unnamed protagonist is the new ghost of the title, following his companions through pages of deep blue night populated by faceless, formless […]

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Lumberjanes #37

It’s a new story arc for Lumberjanes, one that explores more about who these scouts were before they came to camp. As the cover shows, it’s Parents’ Day. Only that becomes tricky when so much of what happens involves the supernatural. The campers want to keep that a secret so they aren’t sent home early. And Molly’s parents aren’t coming, for some reason that we know is more than she’s saying. But that’s something to discover in coming issues. In […]

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Big Moose

Big praise to Ryan Cady and Thomas Pitilli for giving me a story about Big Moose that actually made me relate to the guy for the first time! It’s part of the three-story Big Moose one-shot. Most anyone familiar with Archie Comics knows the character as a big, strong, football player whose single motivation is his girlfriend Midge and the jealousy he has for anyone else trying to date her. “Have It All” by Cady and Pitilli shows much more […]

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Wordplay: Ivan Brunetti’s Children’s Book

Ivan Brunetti, a cartoonist whose early works’ titles included Misery Loves Comedy and Schizo, is now reaching a new audience. (It’s not his first redirection: he’s also done covers for The New Yorker.) Wordplay is a hardcover comic for grades K-1 guaranteed to show how fun playing with language can be. In its 30 pages, children (with perfectly round heads, a quirk of Brunetti’s style) learn from their teacher and parents about compound words. The grammar lesson takes full advantage […]

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